Are employees motivated and inspired by their leaders?

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Are employees motivated and inspired by their leaders?

This question is one that has intrigued me for years. What is at the centre of motivating or inspiring others?

In my experience people can read all the inspiring or motivational material they can muster, but if they do not have it within themselves to connect with the text or story, then it barely gets a look in! The fact is that people need to be ready to be motivated. They need to be standing at the starting line of the 100-meter athletic track, ready to push back into those blocks and ready to pounce once that starter gun goes off.

So the tricky thing is how do we recognise when people are ready to go? Or more importantly, how do the leaders within organisations recognise those times, and do or say the things they need to at the right times? The key here is to understanding that not all people are motivated in the same way. Each person will have a unique set of triggers that will be right for them.

It is a leader’s role to understand these triggers for the people they lead, and also just as important the leader must be attuned to what motivates or inspires them. The way to get to these triggers is by removing the road blocks that are there. It’s not as difficult as you may think. There are three main factors in discovering these roadblocks which I’d like to share:
Habitual programs – Being able to identify a fear that your employees avoid, which holds them back from performing. This could be a historical situation based on a past experience where the person may have felt motivated and gone ahead on their own to complete a task and then being cut down for not doing it right or not achieving the goal.  Or it could also be a fear based on a personal experience outside of work.
Disempowerment – Not empowering the employee to complete the tasks given, especially tasks that are within their capability or even job role. This happens time and time again where employees are not trusted by their leaders with performing their jobs or they are not provided with the power to get things done.
Limited communication – or in other words, not being approachable is one of the single most killers of motivation in a workplace. As a leader you must be ready to communicate with your employees. When I say communication, I am not talking about a one way conversation. A good leader needs to be open and listen, as much as wanting to be heard.

Essentially, if you recognise these roadblocks as opportunities for change, you have a chance to create a work environment that is positive, engaging and extremely efficient. Peeling away these layers gives your people an opportunity to be inspired. Motivation will come from within once a level of self identity within them is allowed to flourish. I liken this motivation to a river. The river flows in one direction and when you create blockages in the river with debris like rocks and trees, etc, the river will slow down, sometimes to just a trickle. By knowing how to remove these rocks and other restrictive materials, the faster the river will flow. Flowing faster is not the only benefit, the volume of water increases, therefore you produce more with less effort.

In summary, the motivation to act is not driven by an external input. Actually many times it’s the external inputs that restrict efficiency. Motivation is driven from within, which is essentially a desire to create or achieve something, that your people will identify with. They will wear that identity like a badge of honour. This, in essence is what drives people to be inspired and motivated.

So grab that bulldozer and clear the river of debris and watch the motivation flourish from within.

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